Immigration, Children In Cages in America and the Bible

Immigration, Children In Cages in America and the Bible

I was so Blessed to be in Church this past Sunday on Father's Day thinking of and Missing my Dad & Grandfather. I work with Refugees and Immigrants and they are the most caring people I've ever met. I had a hard life but, I was never torn away from family or my home, always knew I belonged and was welcomed everywhere I went, so to come to a land that was built on the backs of Immigrants and Refugees, this Nation that for over Two Hundred Years has said Give us Your Tired and Your Poor, is Now telling them to Get Out, We Don't want you!!!!!! What a Nation of Hypocrites Our Leaders have Turned Us Into!!!!!! I was Blessed to hear this and I am using it to FIGHT THIS WAR ON FEAR!!!!!! That's what Our Leaders want they want us to be Afraid of those we don't know, I don't know Our Leaders and I FEAR them more than a stranger from Another Land!!!!!!

Immigration, Children In Cages in America and the Bible

Homily on Immigration

11th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Cycle B)

June 17, 2018

Today is Fathers’ Day. Were you blessed to have a Father or maybe to still have a Father? It’s a great day to celebrate the gift of fathers in our lives. But what if when you were three or four years old, soldiers came and tore you out of your father’s arms and dragged him away. Then they took your mother too. You didn’t know if you would ever see them again. You were taken to a detention center and put in a cage with other children, given an air mattress to sleep with on the floor, and a mylar blanket to cover yourself. No one explains what is happening and no one seems to care about you or the others. I mention this because today we not only celebrate Fathers’ Day but also we prepare to celebrate World Refugee Day this coming Wednesday June 20.

You might think to yourself – wait a minute why is he talking about immigration. I don’t come to church to hear about politics. Well, if you don’t want to hear about politics then don’t ever read the bible, because the bible is a political document. Don’t ever look at the crucifix because Jesus died as political prisoner. In other words the gospel is directed at the world, at the city, at the polis, which is the Greek word for city and from which we get the word political. By its very nature the Gospel requires application to change the world we live in, to change it for the better, especially to change it for those who are suffering.

This past week we have seen in the headlines the horrific realization of the scene I just described; 2,000 children being taken from their parents and placed in detention, 2,000 innocent children. And then representatives of the government had the nerve to use the Bible as a rationale for their actions.

In response to this the American Bishops at their semi-annual meeting last week issued an unprecedented statement both criticizing the government for using the Bible to rationalize its actions, and also condemning the separation of children from their parents. As Jesuit Father James Martin has pointed out:

It is not biblical to treat migrants and immigrants like animals. It is not biblical to ignore the needs of the stranger. It is not biblical to enforce unjust laws. It is not biblical to take children away from their parents. In fact the only place in the Bible where children are taken from their parents are in the Hebrew Scriptures by the Pharaoh who slew the infant sons of the Israelites with the exception of Moses who was spirited away by his sister, and Herod in the Christian Scriptures who Slaughtered the Innocents in an attempt to kill the newborn King of the Jews.

What the Bible in fact does say about immigration is quiet clear:

Going back to the Book of Exodus God tells Moses and through him all the Israelites: “You shall not oppress the resident alien among you. You know the heart of an alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”

That’s two messages from God. Care for the refugee. In the ancient Near East people without attachment to a clan were most often vulnerable and poor, just like migrants and refugees today. So they needed, and continue to need, special help. Secondly, God is reminding the Israelites that they were aliens once, when they were in exile in Egypt.

Immigration, Children In Cages in America and the Bible

The book of Deuteronomy says: “God loves the stranger,”

And Psalm 146 says: “The Lord protects the stranger.”

The Hebrew Scriptures are clear about two things: God’s command to care for the alien and God’s special love for them.

In the New Testament Jesus is even clearer about this. The criteria that Jesus outlines for entrance into heaven includes the citation: “When I was a stranger, you welcomed me.” “Lord, when did we see you a stranger and not welcome you?” The unjust will ask, and the king will answer them: “Every time you didn’t welcome a stranger, you didn’t welcome me.”

If you think this only applies to actions of an individual, perhaps the title given this Gospel passage in Matthew makes it clear. It is called “The Judgement of the Nations.” Perhaps the strongest message from Jesus is not what he said but what he did. After his birth Joseph took Mary and Jesus and fled into Egypt. Mary and Joseph and Jesus were fleeing persecution and the threat of death at the hand of Herod. So we can see that among the millions of refugees the world has seen, and the unprecedented millions of refugees in the world today, are Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Now for us here perhaps the need for immigration reform is not a burning issue. We don’t live in Texas where people are erecting a wall to keep out their neighbors. The most we have to deal with are those pesky Canadians, invading our outlet malls, changing clothes in their cars and littering our parking lots with their plastic bags. But the question of immigration is not just a local problem but a world crisis.

A few years ago when Pope Francis visited the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, a major point of arrival for immigrants from Africa and the Middle East, who are seeking to reach Europe, he tossed a wreath of white and yellow chrysanthemums into the sea, commemorating the estimated 20,000 who have died making the passage. He implored host countries to ensure that the arrival of migrants does not cause “new and even heavier forms of slavery and humiliation.” “Who is responsible for the blood of these brothers and sisters?” the pope asked, saying that too often, the answer is “No one!”

Immigration, Children In Cages in America and the Bible

Pope Francis was criticized for his remarks at that time and some said the Vatican doesn’t open its doors to house immigrants. In response Pope Francis requested that empty convents and monasteries be used to house refugees and immigrants, instead of being turned into boutique hotels for tourists.

And so, sisters and brothers, I would suggest that all of us, each and every one of us is an immigrant. You might protest and say: “My family has been here for three, four, five or more generations!” I would still say you are an immigrant. To prove this I have three questions for you.

First. Did your ancestors come over on the Mayflower, or by extension fight in the Revolutionary War? If the answer is “No,” then you are an immigrant. We are all guests here. Second. Is your first language (or your only language) English? If so, then you are an immigrant. If your first language is Cree, or Lakota or Navajo then you are a native. Third. Have you ever paid attention to the words of the second stanza of song America the Beautiful which we sing with such vigor and devotion? “O beautiful for pilgrim feet, whose stern impassioned stress, a thoroughfare for freedom beat across a wilderness.” Guess what, folks! It wasn’t a wilderness.

There were people there, and homes there, and civilizations there, and we came in with our euro-centric sense of “manifest destiny” and swept it all away, thinking: “This is mine. I have every right to this and I don’t need to share it with anyone. Of course we don’t want to have borders that are insecure or to ignore the threat of terrorism here at home. But that is the extreme and the exception. Most often it is the innocent who suffer, because our legislation is so rigid. This week you can do something about this, something that will only take you a couple of minutes, something that you can do to really celebrate Fathers’ Day. In the bulletin there is an insert with instructions on how to contact your government representatives and encourage them to address the fact that the number of legal immigrants has been drastically lowered this year and that even the minimum number of legal entries that the law allows will not be reached.

In 2016 there were nearly 85,000 legal immigrants admitted into our country. This year the ceiling was lowered to 45,000, and at the current rate only about half that may be allowed to enter. These are people who are entering legally and have already been vetted. The insert in the bulletin even gives you a model message for requesting that this action be taken as soon possible. Please look over this insert carefully and on Wednesday take five minutes to make a difference for the lives of thousands of our sisters and brothers.

Today we celebrate Father’s Day and if we are or were blessed to have a father, we must work for all children to have fathers. In a few minutes we will pray together “Our Father.” We must be ready to recognize, when we say those words “Our Father” that this means that every man, woman and child, every man, woman and child, is our sister and our brother. We have a sign at all the doors of the church that says: “All are welcome.” That sign cannot just refer to the doors of this church. It must also refer to the doors or our hearts, and the doors of our country.

Immigration, Children In Cages in America and the Bible


Most Helpful Guys

  • Please spare us the bible thumping... It seems pretty ironic the same people that are suddenly quoting the bible were just a while ago supporting Planned Parenthood and marching in Gay Pride parades. Both of which the bible forbids (abortion and homosexuality). You are hypocrites. I'm actually pro-choice and pro-gay marriage, but I can't stand hypocrites saying one thing and do another. What is your solution? Allow people with kids to just be released into the US just for the sake of keeping them together? Do that, and everyone illegal will have a kid in tow (whether it's actually their kid or not). Easy solution, you try to cross illegally, you AND your kids get turned away and sent back. Get in line like everyone else. And those who want asylum? Here are the forms, we'll get back to you. Come back when you get a call. GET IN LINE!.

    • PS: I'm the son of immigrants.

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    • @TFXNYC sociologist discovered long ago that waves of migrants usually want to be the last wave and block the entry of later migrants.

    • @TFXNYC Jeff Sessions quoted the Bible to justify his cruelty

  • Two separate issues here.
    You can't come illegally expect any rights. You have universal rights, as in not to be physically harmed, murdered etc. But you have no rights other citizens may enjoy. When people break law they are jailed. Same if you come illegally you can not be expected to be welcomed with open arms and allowed in. Even Bible enforces laws and has punishments. I totally agree with you in that sense we could do things more compassionately & humanely.

    In regards to seprating children that's absolutely appalling. They're children, imagine what are they going through seperated from their parents. To try defend it is horrifying. 2/3rd of American people are against it at least that is some positive. We are civilized people, if you preach Bible at least have some compassion and humanity. Same objective can be achieved without treating them like animals.

    Yes illegal immigration has to be dealt with, and I do not oppose that. But seperating young kids from their parents is appalling.

    • " American voters oppose 66 - 27 percent the policy of separating children and parents when families illegally cross the border into America, according to a Quinnipiac University National Poll released today.

      Republican voters support the separation policy 55 - 35 percent, the only listed party, gender, education, age or racial group to support it, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe- ack) University National Poll finds. "

    • Show All
    • @goaded But will it extend to deportation of immigrants at the border. If those illegal immigrants have not stayed in US for any period. They've just broken the law and ebtered illegally. They are captured and detained. Can they be immediatly expelled without any due process. Is that what I undertsand the issue to be. Something all the countries do (including mexico), so I am confused why 14th amendment should prevent America doing same. I think its worth going to supreme court for, this specific issue.

    • I did wince at the word "resident" in the decision, but note that the dissent doesn't use the word (at least not in that excerpt).

      Surely, though, if the person is in a position to be judged by the state, they're in the jurisdiction of the state, by definition! People can be turned back before they reach land, but not after. (Since the amendment applies to the federal government as well, perhaps they should be counted as being in US jurisdiction when they reach territorial waters, you can't have it both ways!)

Most Helpful Girls

  • Wait. what? Aren't you the woman who bragged about sleeping with a Mormon and now you're a devout Christian? Something doesn't compute.

    • I'm Roman Catholic, I mix it up with all Races and Faith's. And I wasn't bragging just stated a fact!!! In case you didn't know Mormon is a Christian based Faith!!!

    • Show All
    • @monkeynutts That's a lot of emotional investment you're putting into this... respect..

    • @monkeynutts How is me pointing out that a large percentage of catholics are left leaning somehow constitute tag teaming

  • Do I Come over with my own King James Bible and bring Family with No Credentials,. Visa or Passport? xx

    • Obama started the cage deal and now that they are still coming over, we have them in 5 star "Cages" with Lots of Fun, hun, and Reuniting slowly with their parents. xx

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Join the discussion

What Guys Said 28

  • it is horrific and without a doubt a human rights violation. the psychological damage done to these children especially the youngest will likely stay with them for life.

    i get that we need to detain illegal immigrants but there is no reason to think that we need to split families up.

    let's be very clear trump has employed this tactic which is entirely new in an effort to get immigration legislation passed that will include funding for his wall. he is using children to force congressional republicans and democrats to pass immigration reform which invariably includes funding for his wall

    • So, what's the solution?
      Send back the parents and keep the children?
      Send back everyone?
      Keep them all despite the fact they're illegals? Is having children giving a free pass to spit on the law and do whatever you want?

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    • @Guanfei Why does it alwasy come back to money for you?

    • good news that trump sounds like he is going to end the policy. i'm glad found that there are some things those who generally support will not support as the religious right has come out very strong against the splitting up families policy

  • " this Nation that for over Two Hundred Years has said Give us Your Tired and Your Poor, is Now telling them to Get Out, We Don't want you!!! "

    That's a poem, written by a Jewish girl, put on a statute. That's not a law or an agreement by the American people. What next? Should we execute all homosexuals tomorrow because we have plenty of 10 Commandments as monuments or such? You'd surely also agree with banning interracial marriage, since God commanded the Israelis to not marry any other peoples?

    "Going back to the Book of Exodus God tells Moses and through him all the Israelites: “You shall not oppress the resident alien among you. You know the heart of an alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”"

    Yeah. We're not Israelites. But tell you what.

    Leviticus 20:13 ""'If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."

    If you're willing to support a mass slaughter of all bisexual and homosexual people in the USA tomorrow, then we will all know you're really serious about following Scripture.

    But hey. I believe in truly following God's word when it comes to foreign nationals, especially from the Middle East, like Syrians.

    "Make no treaty with them and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons,"

    You're not a Christian, lady. "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."

    You don't care at all what Scripture says. You're just cherry picking verses here and there. You're a false prophet trying to turn the truth of God into a lie.

  • Wait, you mean that when people break the law they get locked behind cages?
    This is completely unheard of!

    Only white people should face imprisonment for their crimes. If a minority breaks the law we need to give them a free pass!!!

    • no but perhaps we don't force children who didn't have a choice in the matter to be separated from their parents. they can be detained and then sent back to their country together.

      "Only white people should face imprisonment for their crimes. If a minority breaks the law we need to give them a free pass!!!"
      -- your victim mentality is showing

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    • @madhatters4 Maybe I'm connecting dots that you're not seeing.

      So a sanctuary city is a city where local law enforcement are prohibited from working with federal law enforcement in regards to illegal immigrants. So if the local cop knows Joe is here illegally, Joe gets a pass because the cop isn't allowed to do anything.

      So Sanctuary City (A) = Free pass for illegal immigrants (B)

      Now while people won't directly say that they don't want illegal immigrants held accountable, they will support santuary cities whose intended effect is not holding illegal immigrants accountable.

      So the politician never says they support B. They support A though, whose purpose is B. So for all intents and purposes, they support B.
      You can call that a straw man if you desire, but actions speak louder than words. They may verbally say that's not what they want, but their actions tell a different story.

      The law currently punishes them yes, but the politicians are still trying to protect them.

    • the sanctuary city issue is very separate. i personally think states and cities as defined by our constitution have the right to enforce federal policy and then the federal government can opt to police in a state or city. it's the same law that allows states and cities to legalize marijuana. and while you may appreciate this separation of powers in this case i am sure there are areas in which you appreciate the separation of powers

  • I'm not really that worried about this. My question is why do we even let them in at all. Just let them stand on the Mexican side and stay there. Since when does any human on planet Earth just get to come into the US?

    Don't want them in cages, put mom, pop and kid all in the same cage. Better yet just send them back. Did they apply for immigration and were they accepted (we can only take in so many and we have to screen for safety concerns, assimilation probabilities, do they have work skills or things the country actually needs) or did they just decide to enter without our permission? If so deny entry and/or send them back.

    I'm pretty sure if I get arrested. My kids don't get to come in with me so this isn't some NEW dilemma. Doesn't the US have lots of kids in foster care and single parent homes with parents in jail or addicted to drugs etc? We only care about the kids from people breaking into our country? I see. Selective virtue.

    Hey, I'm fine with deporting them all and/or sticking mom/dad and the kids in the same holding cell.

  • the law is the law,

    why can't these Immigrants get papers and come here legally,

    why are they always crossing illegally is it that hard for them, to do it the right way,

    right now border protection and maintaining the beliefs of our Anglo-Germanic protestant nation is more important,

    America First

    • "why can't these Immigrants get papers and come here legally"

      Well as someone who at some point considered moving to the US getting visa is not easy, unless you have family ties.
      If you want to work for an American company they have to prove they tried to hire an American first and couldn't so they hired you. That's a lot of trouble most companies don't want to go through so most job openings are for residents only.
      But let's say you DID get a company to sponsor you, there's a limited amount of work visas around the number of applicants far exceeds that number. So getting one is literally a lottery.
      People can't just migrate to the US legally (unless you change the rules that is )

      Now I'm in cushiony european country and in retrospect I'm probably better off here. BUT if you're in a country that ruled by gangs (Honduras), run by a dictator (Bolivia) or where people are literally starving (Venezuela) that's a different story.

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    • @SaintJonesy oh god that's really old fashioned
      what are you from the 1890s or something

    • Lol said the guy who wants an emperor.

  • First of all, regardless of what the Bible says PR doesn't say, should not matter. We don't live by the Bible, we live by the Constitution.

    Second of all, don't be retarded and live here illegally, especially if you have children. They are being separated because the parents are detained and put in an immigrant holding cell, waiting to be processed as what to do with them next.

    Third, those cages are no longer used. A journalist went to these child facilities and found they were very much like after school programs. They had food, play areas, classrooms diaper changing stations. Though the staff were told not to comfort the children which is unintelligent.

    These kids don't need to be in the foster care system because that's taking away from our orphans who already struggle needlessly. These immigrant children will never get adopted and will wind up on the streets to commit more crime later in life.

    Just legalize these people by putting them through the channel's like everyone else or send them back with their parents. Then again they will just come back... It's a complicated issue that isn't as cut and dry as people want it to be sadly.

  • You're coming illegally, you're going to jail. Either way you'd complain. You don't want them to send back parents with children, you don't want to send parents without children, and you don't want to send back children.
    Basically, what you're saying is "Have a child, and you have a free pass to immigrate illegally".

    • You ever hear about those cultures where a street urchin will steal a piece of bread because they're starving to death and they catch him and cut his hand off? Yeah, this is like that.

      We should probably flog teenagers for drinking beer while we're at it.

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    • @SaintJonesy You know i'm perfectly right, but again I don't expect you to agree. People like you would open any border to anyone if they could. And not care about any consequences of it.

    • You're sure your right, but you can't even string an entire fucking sentence together without contradicting yourself: "You know I'm right... but you don't agree." Once again, you are just making up an argument that I didn't say to argue with, because you don't want to argue with my actual point. That's not how the world works. How about you argue against a point I actually made, before you get to declare yourself right.

  • They are not in pet store cages. This is the same law that was in effect ages ago. Without this law, child abuse and crossing the border is actually easier. Some things in life just can't be pretty no matter what religion or values you want to use as rose tinted glasses

  • Kick all of them out. Change the law so the kids don't gain citizenship just from being born in the us. Make them get it by their parents being legal. I am tired of them coming here and demanding rights when people go through the process legally

  • Yeah it's terrible, Roman occupied Jerusalem can't really be juxtaposed against the modern state of America, the churches are going to have to open their coffers to help these children. Unfortunately population expansion in the world is out of control, simply opening up the flood gates and letting the tsunami in will just transfer one problem from one place, to another America. America has a huge poverty problem itself. If you want change you are going to have to look threw the Bible again for more inspiration, it is not one hundred percent accurate to call the Bible political or jesus a political prisoner, the torture and murder of jesus was attributed to the jealousy and hatred of the pharisees, they were the plotters and the instigators jesus was screwing with their belief system, undermining their authority to solve this problem you are going to have to get busy yourself, personally I don't have much money, I can ask someone else to take out a second mortgage on their home to pay for someone else to have a home, when I can't even do it myself. You cannot solve all the problems of the world, jesus could create miracles you and I can't.

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What Girls Said 8

  • I know a lot about mental health, emotions, relationships, psychic, life coaching, counselling and much more, but never get involved in politics or world affairs and leave it to the experts.

  • Children shouldn’t be stripped from their families.

    On the other hand immigration should be done lawfully.

    I expect both and nothing less.

  • Good post! I'm really sad that our government is being cruel to children, and that some people actually support it!

  • These illegal immigrants are the ones putting their children in this situation. They need to come in the country LEGALLY.

  • i'm ivanka trump .
    'daddy you better do something about this . it's not like i'm against separating children from
    their parents . but it's starting to look bad for you politically and around the world .
    it is making too many people angry at you . just when your approval ratings are slowly
    creeping up . you will not be able to blame Obama for what's happening now daddy.
    especially now that 6000 children are missing . sure, ann colter agrees with you daddy .
    i'm not sure what laura ingraham thinks . but she's a moron anyway . so please daddy
    please back off a little and do something about it . just say you're compassionate and
    you care about keeping families together . after all this is america not germany .
    make america great again daddy . free the children' .

  • This is total BULL SHIT!

  • Why are people claiming this is a new thing that started with Trump?

  • If we stop taking refugees and migrants they will stop coming and work to make their own countries better. Also if our goverment democrat and republican could stop destabilizing the third world by backing regime change, stop interfering in civil wars and stop arming dictators, warlords and terrorists. This is our country, anyone who wants to enter it should do legally.


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